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Making Divorce Easier For Kids To Understand- A Sweet Story

Family / Issues Kids Deal With //

I love getting uplifting emails and Facebook messages from people who minister to children. The following message is just too sweet to keep to myself. I pray it blesses you as much as it did me.

This message came from Randy Smith. Randy is a businessman in his community but he is also a lay leader who coordinates and oversees DivorceCareSingle & Parenting and DivorceCare for Kids for his church. Through his business he has connected with several community leaders. When the local school called and asked him to speak on career day he was very surprised they wanted him to speak on what he does at his church instead of his business.

I was recently asked to speak to the 5th graders at an intermediate school in our area for their Career Day. Boy what an honor!  Of course I said yes, but they ask that I speak on divorce and how it affects kids.

They said that I had 15 minutes to speak to each class and then the class would move to another speaker. Yikes! 15 minutes to cover the affects of divorce?

I knew I’d need some help on this one so I called our DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K) consultant at the Church Initiative headquarters to get a few ideas that I could use with the kids. Our DC4K consultant suggested using the jump rope demonstration from one of the DC4K sessions. This demonstration is for the session titled “It’s Not My Fault” and used to help children understand this issue.

In this demonstration four children are involved. Two children hold the ends of a rope. They swing it back and forth but don’t turn it all the way over. Another child is blindfolded. A fourth child who is not blindfolded tries to talk the blindfolded child through jumping over the rope. The child who is the talker cannot touch the jumper.

As you can imagine there was a lot of laughter and silliness that took place during this demonstration. Everyone in the class got involved with some of them wanting to shout out instructions to the blindfolded child. After the demonstration and everyone calmed down I asked the jumper

Was it hard to jump over the rope when you couldn’t see it?
Was it embarrassing because you couldn’t see?
Was it your fault you couldn’t see?
Was it your fault you couldn’t jump over the rope?

From that point I was able to explain that separation and divorce is an adult problem. It is not a child’s fault if their parents split. These kids laughed and had a good time but more importantly they got the message that divorce is not their fault. And we did it in only 15 minutes. It was powerful.

I had no idea what an impact it made on the kids until I received an envelope in the mail the next Saturday from the school.  I thought if might be some sort of a letter and certificate from the school thanking me for speaking to the kids.  Put when I opened the envelope and started reading the contents….I broke down and cried!

There were 20 + thank you notes that I received from the kids. Here are just a few samples

“Mr. Smith I just wanted to say thank you for not making me feel like  an idiot cause for a long while    I sometimes thought it was my fault   that my parents got a divorce but now I know it wasn’t my fault so thank you.”

“Dear Mr. Smith, I liked you the most because you made me realize not everything is my fault and I loved the game we played. Thank   you form coming I loved everything that you talked about.”

“Dear Mr. Smith, thank you for coming to our school talking about  your jobs. And thank you for doing games with us. I liked how you said it’s not their fault that their parents split up.”

Thank you Randy Smith for sharing your experience. A silly little game proved to be something so simple yet so powerful in helping a child understand just one issue of divorce. Lives were changed because you cared enough to do something.

 

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About the Author

Linda has been a children’s ministry director, developed DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids, dc4k.org), operated a therapeutic child care, and has extensive experience at successfully accommodating challenging behaviors. She currently serves as the DC4K Ambassador and Professional blogger at http://blog.dc4k.org.